>> Far from Mosul in Iraq, on another front against the Islamic State, Libyan fighters are close to liberating the city of Sirte, which has been held by militants for over a year. I'm Patrick Markey, reporting from Reuters from Sirte, Libya. Here on one of the last front lines in Sirte, Libyan fighters and Islamic State militants are so close that they're holding insults as well as gunfire at each other.
It's been a six month campaign aided by US airstrikes and they're close to clearing out most of the city. Only one area of around one kilometer square is remaining. Libyan commanders say as little as 100 Islamic State militants may be left in the city now. And they are clearing house by house, using armor to break through to clear a path for troops before they run in to clear the houses.
And the fall of Sirte could be days or weeks away. Libya was supposed to be the stronghold for Islamic State outside Iraq and Syria. And Sirte was supposed to be its base in North Africa. So this will be a very symbolic loss when the city finally falls. But Libyan commanders say as many as 300 to 400 Islamic State fighters and some commanders may have fled before they encircled the city.
And they're expecting some kind of guerrilla campaign or ambushes to continue even after the fall of the city.
yond Sirte, when the city actually falls completely, we'll have to consider Libyan politics. Since 2011, with the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, the country has been hit by rivals between different competing armed brigades who are fighting for control.
So once the city falls, we may see a resumption of some of the fighting, particularly for control of the oil in Libya, which is the lifeline of the country and the economy.